“I don’t wash the towel; the towel washes me!”Nick Miller, New Girl.

It may seem redundant to clean an appliance whose main purpose is to do just that – clean. However, your appliances absolutely require regular TLC, much like your towels. Although you’re clean when you use them, they still build up grime throughout the week and require washing.

How often do you need to clean your appliances and what are your options for doing so?

How to Clean Your Washing Machine

Mmm… don’t you just love the blissful aroma of freshly washed laundry?

Unfortunately, over time, your laundry won’t smell so delightful if routine cleaning is not part of your household maintenance regimen. Depending on the type of washer you have, there are varying aspects to consider when cleaning your appliance.

Front-load washers, while more efficient than top-loaders, tend to be smellier when not properly maintained. This is largely because of the build-up of soap scum, mold, and mildew within the machine, and also along the rubber door gasket.

The gasket’s main purpose is to prevent leaking, a job which it does well – perhaps too well. The rubber gasket does not let any water out during the washing cycle – which is exactly what it’s supposed to do – but it also retains water afterwards, unless you intervene.

There are many approaches you can take when cleaning your washing machine. Some call for bleach, others suggest vinegar and baking soda. However, please note that you should NEVER mix bleach and vinegar, as it creates a potentially lethal chlorine gas. For simplicity, and since you probably already have it in your pantry, we’ll stick with the method of vinegar and baking soda.

Please note, this is just a general guideline. Consult your user’s manual for further information.

How to Clean Top-Load Washers:

  • Scrub out any noticeable gunk from the basin of your washing machine. Wipe it dry.
  • Scrub the inside and outside of the agitator (the middle, tubular part within the washer basin).
  • Set it to the hottest and largest setting possible and start a load.
  • As the washer fills with water, add 3 – 4 cups of vinegar.
  • Let the washer start to agitate, then stop the cycle by lifting the lid.
  • Allow the vinegar to soak for a few minutes.
  • Add 1/2 cup of baking soda, then close the lid to get the agitator moving again.
  • Lift the lid to stop the cycle and let everything soak for 30 – 60 minutes.
  • While it’s soaking, wipe down the outside of your washing machine. Be sure to clean the crevices within the lid, too.
  • Run the washer until it finishes.
  • Repeat the process if needed.
  • Leave the lid open to allow everything to dry properly.

How to Clean Front-Load Washers:

  • Scrub out any noticeable gunk from the basin of your washing machine. Wipe it dry.
  • Use a damp cloth to scrub out the rubber door gasket.
  • Sprinkle 1/3 cup baking soda into the empty washer.
  • If your machine has removable detergent tray parts, take them out and soak them in hot, soapy water. Use a microfiber cloth or old toothbrush to get rid of soap buildup and grime. If you cannot remove the parts, simply wipe them out to the best of your ability, then pour in 2 cups of vinegar.
  • Run a regular wash cycle with the hottest water setting possible.
  • If you suspect mildew, you can run a cycle using bleach, but NEVER mix vinegar and bleach together!
  • Open up the rubber door gasket again and really get into those crevices – that’s the source of everything you may be smelling! Use a damp cloth first to get any remaining large bits of hair and other gunk, then use a toothbrush for the hard-to-reach spots. Just make sure your toothbrush doesn’t make its way back onto the sink to be used in your mouth. Yuck!
  • Clean your washer’s front window and surrounding space of the door.
  • Wipe down any other parts, including the top and sides of your washer.
  • Clean the pump filter:
    • Locate the access door to the pump filter, usually near the ground, on the front of your machine. It will look like a small rectangular door.
    • Place a towel and small bowl below the filter to catch water as it drains.
    • Open the access door, rotate the lid counterclockwise and let the water drain into the tray.
    • Pull the tray out and remove any foreign objects (paper clips, keys, coins, etc.).
    • Clean the filter of debris, then put it back, turning it clockwise until it’s secure.
    • Lift up the pour spout so that it’s back in place and close the access door once again.
  • Going forward, make sure to regularly wipe out your rubber door gasket – after every wash if possible – and be sure to leave it open for ventilation.

After all that hard work, your washing machine should be sparkling like new and running like a dream! If it’s not, perhaps something else is going on beneath the surface. Abbey Appliance is just a phone call away, ready to give you Same-Day Service!

How to Clean Your Dishwasher

Now that you’re an expert on using baking soda and vinegar to clean your washing machine, you can apply the same tactics to your dishwasher!

  • First, remove both racks and clean out any grime or food particles that you see.
  • Then remove the filter, usually at the bottom of your washer, and clean it in the sink. Put it back once you’re done.
  • Soak a rag in vinegar and wipe out the door gasket.
  • Run a dishwashing cycle with vinegar by filling a bowl of 2 cups of vinegar, placed on the top rack. Make sure the rest of the dishwasher is empty. Vinegar will work through your appliance, knocking out odors by dissolving old detergent and built-up mineral deposits.
  • After the cycle is complete, sprinkle a cup of baking soda onto both racks to absorb any remaining food particles or grime.
  • Run another cycle with no detergent nor vinegar. Just hit the button. This will clean out the baking soda. (If you add vinegar, you’ll have a big mess!)

Please note, this is just a general guideline. Consult your user’s manual for further information.

Your dishwasher should be sparkling like new and humming beautifully! If it’s not, give Abbey Appliance a call!

How to Clean Your Oven

These days, most ovens have a self-cleaning option. However, unfortunately, there is still work to be done, even with this feature.

Please note, this is just a general guideline. Consult your user’s manual for further information.

How to Clean Your Oven Using the Self-Clean Feature:

Be advised, this isn’t as simple as you might guess. This feature puts your oven out of commission for several hours and uses a lot of energy. Be sure to read your oven’s user manual for guidance specifically tailored to your appliance.

  • Make sure your oven is completely empty. This means removing pots and pans of course, but also the racks themselves. Metal racks will discolor and be harder to slide if you leave them in during the cleaning process.
  • Open up several windows to allow proper ventilation, as you’re sure to smell many fumes throughout this process.
  • Using only water, scrub out as much baked-on food and grease as possible. Do not use additional cleaning products at this time.
  • If your oven has a manual lock, lock the oven door. Otherwise, please note that many ovens lock themselves once the cleaning process begins.
  • Keep pets and small children away from the oven throughout the duration of the cleaning process, as your oven will be blasting extremely high temperatures and will be hot to the touch.
  • If your oven gives you the option, select the time for your oven cleaning session. The dirtier the oven, the more time it will need. Two hours is generally enough for a light cleaning, whereas a dirtier oven may need three or four hours.
  • Please note that you won’t be able to open the oven door until it cools back down to regular baking temperatures. Allow your oven to cool down completely prior to opening it again.
  • Close your windows if you desire.
  • Use a damp cloth to wipe away the ashes of yesterday’s delicious concoctions. Wash and replace the metal racks, then pat yourself on the back for a job well done!

How to Clean Your Oven Using Baking Soda and Vinegar:

There are many oven-cleaning products on the market, but a popular natural solution is to use baking soda and vinegar. Here’s what you can do:

  • Mix the following into a thick paste, and add extra water if needed:
    • 1 pound baking soda
    • 1 tablespoon salt
    • 2 tablespoons water
  • Remove your oven racks to be washed separately. You can soak them in the bathtub in hot, soapy water. Place an old towel underneath to prevent scratches in your tub.
  • Using a spatula, coat all surfaces of your oven using the baking soda paste, but be sure to avoid heating elements.
  • Close the oven door and allow the paste to harden overnight.
  • Please note – we are not using any heat for this. Keep the oven turned off.
  • In the morning, or after 8 hours, wipe out as much of the paste as you can, using a damp cloth.
  • Use a spray bottle to spritz vinegar onto any remaining baking soda paste. The vinegar will react with the baking soda and start to foam. Listen closely, that’s the sound of active cleaning!
  • Scrub out all remaining cleaning agents and burnt particles.
  • Put your oven racks back into place and enjoy your clean oven!

Are you still not lovin’ your oven? Perhaps it needs a check-up! Call Abbey Appliance to discuss any concerns you may have about your oven.

How to Clean Your Microwave

In many homes and offices alike, a microwave is generally one of the first things to get really dirty. From yesterday’s fish lunch to today’s popcorn, a microwave is crawling with splatters and smells if it’s not regularly cleaned out.

The good news though, is it’s a bit simpler to tackle than some of your other appliances. (The more challenging part is figuring out whose turn it is to clean it! Chore chart, anyone?) Follow these steps to get your microwave sparkling like new:

  • Find a large glass bowl, or other microwave-safe container, and fill it with the following:
    • 2 cups water
    • 1 cup vinegar
    • 1 large lemon, sliced into small strips
  • Microwave on high for 5-6 minutes.
  • Let it sit for about 10 minutes, allowing the steamy vapor to soften all that nasty, baked on grime.
  • Carefully remove the glass turntable and wash that separately.
  • Wipe down the interior of microwave with a damp cloth or sponge. Don’t forget the door and the ceiling!

To minimize future messes, consider using a microwave splatter cover to catch messes before they explode to every nook and cranny in your appliance. You’ll thank yourself later.

If you’re having other microwave issues, like an appliance that doesn’t seem to heat things up properly, trust the experts at Abbey Appliance!

How to Clean Your Refrigerator

If you’ve read this far, you are probably feeling pretty confident in your abilities to deep clean your appliances with baking soda and vinegar. Good news, the same principles can be applied to your refrigerator, too!

The best time to deep clean your refrigerator is right before going on a big grocery shopping spree. When you have less items in your fridge, you have less to work with, and the whole process will be simpler and more food-safe, too!

  • Remove all items, inspecting each one as you go. Check expiration dates and throw things away accordingly. If in doubt, throw it out!
  • Once your fridge is empty, take the shelves and drawers out to be cleaned. *
  • Clean the interior of your fridge, including the rubber door gasket and all other nooks and crannies. *
  • Wipe down the exterior of your fridge, including the sides, handles, the top, behind, and underneath. Be sure to check your owner’s manual to see what is recommended, depending on the material and model of your refrigerator.

*If your fridge isn’t particularly smelly or dirty, you may get by just fine with traditional water and soap, or even just a damp cloth. However, if you have lots of stubborn stains and sticky messes, you’ll want to bust out the big dogs. Once again, here’s where vinegar and baking soda make for a nice natural alternative. Keep in mind though, the vinegar smell will linger for a few days. (But hey, it’s better than whatever may be growing in there now, right?) If the tradeoff is worth it to you, use a spray bottle with a ratio of one part vinegar to three parts water. Spritz it throughout the interior of your fridge, then wipe it away with a damp cloth. For the extra stubborn spots, let baking soda and vinegar sit for a few minutes before you wipe it clean.

  • When you’re finished, promptly return all items to your fridge. As you handle each one, wipe down any items that are sticky or otherwise unfit for your newly beautified, showroom-ready fridge.

To keep new odors at bay, consider keeping a shallow dish of baking soda in the back of your fridge. Baking soda will attract odor molecules and hold them hostage, rather than letting them run amok elsewhere, causing your fridge to stink itself up again.

If you take time each week to throw out old items and clean up spills as soon as you see them, you’ll find that cleaning your fridge won’t be such a daunting task. If you’re having other issues with your fridge, don’t lose your cool – nor your fridge’s.  Give Abbey Appliance a call and we’ll be happy to take a look and give you an honest evaluation.

How Often Should I Clean My Appliances?

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer for every appliance’s optimal cleaning schedule. It depends on how often the appliances are used, how well they’re maintained in the interim, what types of detergents you’re using, and many other factors.

Now that you know how to keep your appliances looking clean from the inside out, you’ll probably start to notice when they need another round of TLC.

Microwaves and refrigerators tend to get dirtier faster, so it’s smart to clean them at least a couple times a month. As for ovens, dishwashers, and laundry machines, a general rule of thumb is to deep-clean them approximately every six months.

However, if you are baking cakes left and right and not cleaning up the gooey goodness afterwards, you’ll want to clean your oven a lot more regularly. The same goes for your laundry. Are you regularly washing poopy cloth diapers? Oil-stained jumpsuits? Evaluate your usage and modify your cleaning routines accordingly.

Schedule a Consultation

Still not satisfied with your appliance(s)? Perhaps your dishwasher isn’t drying properly, or you’re having issues with your oven.

It’s frustrating to deal with inefficient or broken appliances. It’s even worse when you have to wait for repairs. Fortunately, Abbey Appliance in Lee’s Summit offers Same-Day Service; most repairs can be completed with just one visit. Connect with Abbey Appliance to explore your options today!